Latino dad & soccer referee tragically dies after teen player punches him in face (VIDEO)
A recreational soccer game took a tragic turn when a teenage player punched a referee in the face after the ref issued the teen a yellow warning card ... and the referee tragically died. The incident occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah where 46-year-old Ricardo Portillo was refereeing a game in Taylorsville and had cited a player with a yellow card for a game violation.
This caused the 17-year-old to punch Portillo in the face which left him in critical condition after he suffered serious internal head injuries. Unfortunately, the referee didn't survive and passed away Saturday night.
According to CNN, the teen, whose name is not being released due to his age, is currently in a juvenile detention center. He was also charged with aggravated assault, but due to Portillo's death, his charges are subject to increase.
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The league called Fut International is a soccer league for children ages five through 17 and has a low tolerance for unruly players according to its president, Mario Vasquez, who claims he was unaware of any issues involving the player. He said the league would have kicked him out had he displayed this type of behavior in the past.
Initially, officials thought the referee's injuries were minor until doctors found that they were life threatening. Portiollo's untimely death leaves his daughter Johana Portillo distraught; she says the player took her dad away from her. Johana recalled seeing her dad in the hospital and asking him if he was going to be okay; he cried and said no. She was then taken out of the room since he went into shock moments later. Although Johana does not forgive the player who killed her father just yet, her one wish is for the violence to stop on the field.
She claims that the violence on the field is well-known and that her father had his ribs broken 10 years ago by another player, during a separate game. But he loved the game too much and came back to continue refereeing.
What a sad story! This tragedy brought tears to my eyes as I see this man's daughter suffer knowing she's never going to see him again. His life was taken away doing something he was passionate about by some teen who was a sore loser. Not only did he take away this innocent man's life, but he ruined his own life for his bad sportsmanship. Whatever punishment he is given in court, he deserves because this type of behavior is unacceptable--especially during a game that was supposed to be friendly.
Image via CNN